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Shopping Addiction Can Ruin a Family

Many a husband has joked that his wife or daughter is addicted to shopping. Women sometimes have the same complaint about their husbands.

But is there really such an addiction?

The issue got a fresh look recently when a psychiatry professor published a piece in GQ magazine about a man who spent $600,000 in a two-year period on well-planned shopping sprees. Dr. Donald Black, a professor at the University of Iowa, said around 6 percent of adults in the nation are addicted to shopping and do so compulsively. He said it starts in the teen years and can become a chronic problem quite rapidly.

Compulsive shopping is more than just an annoyance to other family members. It can cause havoc on interpersonal relationships while destroying a family’s financial situation. With hour after hour spent each week on shopping, the activity in those who are addicted will cause a sense of anxiety followed by a pleasurable release after making the purchase.

A compulsive shopper will express other problems, very often including depression. Compulsive sexual tendencies and addictions to substances, gambling and/or the Internet also often co-occur with a shopping addiction.
Intervention is usually the best way to put a stop to the destructive behavior. Cognitive therapy is proving a valuable tool in addressing this issue.  The afflicted are advised to never shop alone and to discontinue their credit card memberships. But for some, the pull to shopping on the Internet is very strong, convenient and done easily and quietly from home. For these types of shoppers, the home’s Internet service could be severed until the addiction/compulsion is addressed head-on and under control.

Posted on July 20th, 2013

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